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20 Feb 2007

by Noel

Those Who Can Program…

The Shapes Project aims to make enough 2-D shapes that every one of the estimated 9.1 billion people alive in 2050 will be able to have one of their own. Not only that, but each shape will be unique. The uniqueness is guaranteed by a system any computer scientist would understand: define a grammar of shapes and then construct unique samples from the grammar. Here’s how the artist’s web page puts it:

Contrary to some errors made in certain press articles, McCollum’s Shapes are not “generated” in a computer with an invented or scripted “program.” Every shape is laboriously created by the artist using Adobe Illustrator — a common, everyday graphics program — by drawing little parts, cutting and pasting the parts into bigger parts, then cutting and pasting those parts into even bigger parts, and so on, and keeping track according to a written protocol, to insure against repetitions. The first exhibition of the project, in 2006, took around two years to complete.

I find his insistence that each shape is constructed by hand very amusing. Those who can program do, and those who can’t spend 2 years monkeying around in Illustrator.

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